Julius Caesar


William Shakespeare

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Julius Caesar: Act 2, scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Portia sends Lucius to the Capitol to learn whether the conspirators have been successful. Nervous, she struggles to direct Lucius without giving away what she knows of the conspiracy. Aside, she complains that it’s hard to have “a man’s mind but a woman’s might.”
Portia’s anxiety contrasts with her earlier steadiness and strength. As before, she describes mental resolve and physical weakness in terms of masculinity and femininity.
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The soothsayer passes by. He tells Portia that he fears harm to Caesar, though he doesn’t know for sure that it will come to pass. He goes on to find a position outside of the pressing throng from which he can speak to Caesar. Feeling faint, Portia urges Lucius on to the Capitol.
The press of the crowd, and Portia’s mounting panic, build up urgency and tension in the play. The soothsayer’s efforts to warn Caesar suggest that his death isn’t inevitable, since if it were, there would be no point in warning him. Thus fate remains an ambivalent force in the play, as it is unclear whether falling into the plot is Caesar’s own fault or his predetermined destiny.
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